I'd consider myself a computer expert, and I love this router. It looks awesome, it has an awesome name (Dark Knight), it is rock sold, provides extremely reliable wireless connectivity (only one dropped ping to Google in 2 days), and a shed load of advanced options out of the box for even the most demanding users. You can also install custom firmware (e.g. Merlin's) and turn on telnet and directly access the Linux shell. Yet, the defaults are sensible so it's good for beginners too.
So why only 4 stars? Well, it refused to work with BT Infinity using it's "Quick Internet Setup" wizard. This is disappointing given BT is the UK's biggest ISP. However, it DOES WORK with BT Infinity - you just need to set up the connection manually, and I'll post the details here in case anybody else has the same issue...
Cancel the Quick Internet Setup Wizard. Goto WAN (on the left). WAN Connection Type = PPPoE. Enable WAN = Yes. Enable NAT = Yes. Get WAN IP automatically = Yes. Connect to DNS Server automatically = Yes. User Name = email@example.com. Password = Doesn't matter what you put here, but it must be SOMETHING (I used "notset"), and this is what caused me the headaches as I'd left it blank like it is in the Home Hub 3 you get from BT. Leave everything else alone. Apply... and you'll connect.
EDIT AFTER OWNING FOR 4 MONTHS: This router has been flawless. It has not needed restarting once. My BT Infinity connection was down for several days while BT performed scheduled work at my local cabinet. But that didn't matter too much because I simply activated tethering on my Android phone and plugged the phone into one of the router's USB ports. Seconds later my entire network is connected to the internet again via 3G. How truly awesome is that? I've also used its "guest WiFi" facility where you can set up temporary (you set an expiry date/time) additional WiFi networks with their own names and passwords so you can give any guests you have staying over WiFi access without revealing your own WiFi password. You can optionally enable or disable local LAN access for the guest WiFi networks (i.e. give them just internet access, or full network access too).
Feel free to ask technical questions in the comments.
on 31 January 2013
I got one of these because I had a Virgin Media (not so) Super Hub. I also had another router servicing the lounge area of the house and a repeater from that in the kitchen to reach the back of the house and my bedroom above. It's a large house and this was the only way to get wireless service all around the house. So I switched the super hub into modem mode, disconnected the other router and repeater then connected the Asus.
It was simple to set up. The user interface is intuitive and delivers plenty of power and options to suit most users. The first thing I noticed was a much improved internet speed. I think this is down to the super hub only having to be a modem. I then checked range. The Asus is positioned in the front of the house in my office. I went to the furthest point away upstairs and tried connecting my iPhone 5 and iPad. Both had a full signal which was unheard of before. The speed that both devices flew around the internet was nothing like I had experienced with my previous setup.
I then put it to a bigger test. I started downloading a 6Gb file on my PC, connected my Apple TV and started streaming a HD movie trailer, connected my iPhone 5 and iPad and my wife's iPad Mini and got them all streaming movie trailers. This would be enough to put any ISP through its paces. All devices worked perfectly at the same time with no lag.
I must say that this is probably the best purchase I have made in a long time. I only wished I had done it months, even years before (had it been available then).
The way I look at it is that I pay a significant amount of money for a 60Mb internet service and for what is really a comparatively small outlay now get to benefit the full 60Mb.
So if you want the advice of a technology and gadget junky, stop messing about and get one of these. By the way, I never write reviews!!!
on 23 April 2012
When you search for ADSL modem, ADSL router etc. on Amazon, this device comes up but PLEASE note this router doesn't include a modem - you will need to get a separate bridging modem to go with this. Amazon really need to update the search so idiots like me don't get so easily fooled. The silly thing is I had even read/watched many reviews of this router and it wasn't mentioned once. So remember, if you want this bit of kit add a bridging modem to your order!
I purchased this router to extend access to my NAS up to the bedrooms and reduce the impact upon my existing Billion Bipac 7800n router, which I use for Internet access. Firstly, I was a bit disappointed that the range of the router was only marginally more than my Billion, but impressed by how stable the connection was. It seems the router does indeed intelligently strengthen connections and keep them open.
The great advantage for me is having both 2.4G and 5G radio bands available. Furthermore, because I am using the router as a Wireless Access Point over LAN, this enables me to stream from my NAS-based media server (QNAP TS-412) without having much impact upon my existing wireless network. Having separate 2.4G and 5G wireless connections really helps here as my kids can now enjoy the streamed video in their bedrooms, but the bandwidth being used is over LAN, as the router serves as a LAN AP into the primary router than connects the NAS. This ensures that existing wireless activity on the primary router (Billion) is largely unaffected as it it just routing packets to the Asus over LAN.
I am also obtaining the Asus EA-N66 Wireless Gigabit Ethernet Adapter and will use it as a repeater to boost the signal upstairs, as it is still weak, but better than what I had before with the Billion.
The ability to also serve guest SSIDs was a bonus, so I now have 2.4G and 5G guest wireless connections that are password free and isolated from the LAN, so the visitors to my home can freely enjoy the Internet without the hassle of getting hold of the password and having their MAC Addresses added to the wireless MAC address filter.
I dropped one star because I was expecting this router to be much more powerful than the Billion Bipac 7800N, so my hat is off to Billion for providing a very sound all rounder for the price. I would actually only have dropped half a star, as this router has a strong connection resilience and a very smart and easy to follow interface.
I do strongly recommend this router and it will likely replace my three Billion routers when I eventually upgrade my Internet service and shrink two connections into one.
Update: 6th January 2012:
I decided to up this router to 5 stars. Having now fully tested streaming 1080p MP4 HD Video without any issue, which is less than I could say for the Billion, this router is now definitely a big improvement for our home network and can handle quite a load of traffic. We have a large 8 bedroom home, with eight people all using the network for one thing or another, and this router handles it all very well.
on 28 November 2011
The first thing you want to do when you get the router is to set up wireless security settings of "WPA2 Personal" and enter your own password into the "WPA-PSK Key" box to avoid potential interlopers from simply accessing the unprotected router and changing settings at will for their own nefarious purposes.
NOTE: you need to change wireless security settings for BOTH the 2.4GHz and 5GHz tabs to secure the router, as they use separate settings.
To access the router's web interface after connecting to it either via ethernet or wireless one needs to type in the address bar of a browser:
and enter the default username and password of:
To get this router working with my Virgin Media cable I had to switch the MODEM off and then on again. It wouldn't automatically work by using the "Quick Internet Setup" button in the router's settings without power cycling the MODEM. This is a minor problem, as it only took me around 10-20 seconds to perform the reset, and it may not happen to you. After that, I could browse the web straight away.
Once I had determined that I could connect to the internet perfectly fine, I visited the official ASUS site to upgrade the firmware of the router (which at the time of writing is 188.8.131.52d). As I apparently cannot post links in Amazon reviews, no matter how innocent they may be, you can find the firmware update by typing "ASUS RT-N56U" into Google, clicking the first result and then the "Download" tab. Extract the downloaded archive to a directory of your choice and then enter the router's configuration page and click the "Advanced Setting" button, "Administration", "Firmware Upgrade" tab. Then click the "Browse..." button next to the box labeled "New Firmware File". Locate the firmware update file on your hard drive, click OK to all the warnings and do not allow your wireless or (preferably) ethernet connection to be interrupted whilst the upgrade is in progress. It will take around 3 minutes, and the progress bar appears to be pretty accurate as to when the operation will be complete (the router is reset in the process), so I wouldn't recommend touching it until it reaches 100%.
NOTE: Custom firmware has been developed for this router recently, and contains a huge number of fixes, enhancements and new features. Take a look at this review's comments for links.
After the router firmware upgrade had successfully completed, I happened to notice that my wireless connection was not running at full bandwidth. It seemed to be stuck at around 130mbps rather than the ~300mbps that Wireless mode N is capable of. I discovered this by right clicking on my wireless network in the Windows System Tray and clicking "Status". I did some reading up and discovered that it was because the router needed to be operating in "Bonded Channel Mode" which, apparently, it is not set to by default. To achieve this, I once again loaded up the router's web interface settings and clicked "Advanced Setting > Wireless" then set the "Channel bandwidth" to "20 / 40MHz" as opposed to the default of "20". I then set the router's "Wireless Mode" to operate in N "only", as well as setting my Wireless adapter in Windows Control Panel > System > Device Manager to WirelessN only mode or "802.11n". This may not be necessary if your adapter operates at 5GHz and you are connected at that wavelength and certainly not recommended if your wireless adapter isn't capable of the WirelessN standard at all, since forcing a Wireless Mode in the router settings that your adapter isn't capable of will leave you unable to connect wirelessly to the router.
My next task was to see if I could open a port for the Torrent network. This was easily achieved by visiting the "Advanced Setting > Port Forwarding" button under the WAN heading in the router's settings and adding a new entry in the list with the "Service Name" of "BitTorrent" (or whatever you would like to name it) "Port Range" of "6881" (without quotes) then selecting the local IP from the drop down box. Enter protocol "Both" and then click the "Add" button and press the "Apply" button below it. I then verified, by performing a port scan and checking the status of my Torrent client, that the port was indeed open and accepting traffic.
I happened to notice upon running a port scan test that port 21 appeared to be permanently "closed" (detectable remotely, but not accepting traffic) as opposed to completely "stealthed" (unreachable remotely). This port is normally reserved for FTP traffic. Whilst the "closed" status is normally secure enough, I would not leave it to chance and so discovered a way to stealth it completely. Go to the "Advanced Setting > Firewall > Lan to WAN Filter" tab and look at the LAN to WAN filter table, which is currently blank. If you want to completely block port 21 off from the outside then you need to add a new blacklist entry for the "Port Range" of "21". Protocol "TCP", Add and Apply.
So, after I had performed all these steps, I was fairly happy with how the Router was performing for me. I have read in a number of places that the Firmware simply isn't advanced enough for other people's needs and they hope for a version of DD-WRT (open source third-party firmware) that supports the ASUS RT-N56U. I tend to agree with them, but so far this router hasn't cut me off from any essential features that I personally require, so that's good enough for me.
on 21 July 2014
This is an excellent Dual Band router.
First let me clear up any confusion and confirm that it is fully compatible with any broadband connection: ADSL, Fibre, Cable...
That said, it is a wireless router only, therefore with which ever broadband connection you have, you will always need a modem. The (main) internet connection input uses a gigabit ethernet port, so you would need a modem which connects via ethernet AS WELL as this unit. Here are my recommendations to do this;
ADSL / ADSL2+ (TalkTalk, Sky, Plusnet, BT, EE, Primus, etc) :
TP-Link TD-8616 Modem: http://amzn.to/1msigtF
DrayTek Vigor 120 Modem: http://amzn.to/1jM5lIk
Any ISP supplied modem/router by ideally using a modem only mode if available or turning off any routing/wireless/firewall functions and connecting one of the LAN ports to the WAN port on the RT-N66U.
Fibre 38 Mbps / 80 Mbps (FTTC, TalkTalk Fibre, Sky Fibre, Plusnet Fibre, BT Infinity, EE Fibre, Primus Fibre, etc) :
Ask BT Openreach to leave you a standard VDSL modem when they come to activate your line, or again, you can use any ISP supplied modem/router by ideally using a modem only mode if available or turning off any routing/wireless/firewall functions and connecting one of the LAN ports to the WAN port on the RT-N66U.
Cable (Virgin Media) :
Switch the "Super Hub" to modem only mode, and connect the LAN port to the WAN port of the RT-N66U.
Once connected to your modem, set up and connection works flawlessly. Asus seem to get bad press for updating their firmware for some reason? I see this a good thing as their development team are working to improve their products, unlike Netgear which release a product and never intend listening to customers and improving on it. The first thing you should do is check for updated firmware. Type (usually) 192.168.1.1 in your web browser, log in, click Administration -> Firmware Upgrade tab -> Check. Upgrade if necessary. More details can be found on the website here: http://www.asus.com/Networking/RTN66U/HelpDesk_Download/
To make the very best use out of this router, you would want a wireless N dual band compatible device, and connect on the 5 GHz frequency.
Its simple to upgrade most laptops (HP's are an exception!) providing you get the correct size adaptor:
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Laptop Network Card (Full Height) : http://amzn.to/1pcdvMy
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 7260 Laptop Network Card (Half Height) : http://amzn.to/1q3pU1c
As with all wireless networks, walls are the biggest problem, especially if you have thick walls or 3 floors. In that situation, you could physically move the location of the router to another location, and run a network cable to the modem, or use a wireless range extender.
Without going into too many tweaking details (as it is usually site specific), generally to get the best performance, any wired devices should connect using gigabit ethernet with Cat6 cable, and the wireless channels should be set to use 40Mhz bandwidth on a high channel number (2.4 GHz) if your devices support it, and 40 MHz bandwidth (5 GHz channel), again only if your devices support it.
It has many advanced features; in built VPN server (connect to your home network while connected to someone else's internet), USB 2.0 file / printer sharing, mobile 3G or 4G tethering, parental controls, traffic manager (QoS), isolated guest network, AiCloud (virtual drive), custom firewall, IPv6 compatibility, It is also supported by DD-WRT if you need professional functions.
I have 2, to create a network bridge - ie one is downstairs in the house connected to the modem - primarily for wireless devices to connect to the internet, then the other unit is outside in another building and connects 4 wired devices to the network. The link speed is 300 Mbps, and has been active for over a year without any problems.
If you have the extra to spend, you should consider the latest Asus router, which uses the newer wireless AC standard;
Asus RT-AC68U Wireless Broadband Router : http://amzn.to/Uifvod
Overall this is a brilliant router that out performs any other brand in its class and it is still been actively supported by Asus.
on 27 June 2012
I got this router to replace my Linksys E4200 V2. That particular router was fine but I couldn't get a wifi signal on my iPhone in the main bedroom upstairs. It would randomly disconnect. I had a similar problem with an Apple Airport Extreme. The only router that I actually could get signal in that room was from a Netgear WNDR3700. The signal was however low and sometimes web pages would fail to load.
After reading a few reviews I decided to splash out on this Asus flagship router.
I have had it running for two weeks now. It came with the latest firmware already installed so must be a new batch. Performance wise I have had zero issues. Where other routers were struggling with signal, this one is giving me full bars on my iPhone! I have had no lag or disconnects at all. I have not had to reboot the router either. This is really a set and forget device, exactly how a router should be.
If I have to find fault with it I would say it runs warmer to the touch then all my previous routers. Secondly when you go into the web GUI to make adjustments things aren't as polished as they should be. I am on the latest firmware but if I click on firmware update it always claims there is new firmware available when in reality there isn't. In sure Asus will fix it in an update soon though.
If you want a router purely for range I doubt you will find anything better than this. For that reason alone in going to rate this 5 out of 5. I would say range and stability are the two most important things for me when considering a router and this delivers outstanding performance on both counts.
Closing this review I highly recommend this Asus. I have had no lockups, I have had no need to reboot the router. It has simply been 100% stable. If Asus fix the setup GUI it would be perfect.
on 4 September 2012
I've just signed up for BT Infinity after 5 years of being with 'Be', my favourite ISP by far, however, no fibre planned for at least a year. So before I get connected and rather than using the standard BT Home Hub 3 which apparently is a decent bit of kit, I thought I'd upgrade my trusty Netgear DG834GT (tweaked to perfection) to a decent Router. I decided I would stay with what I knew and after reading some great reviews I went for the Netgear N900 Wireless Dual Band Gigabit Router. It was simple to set up and easy to get online but I wasn't impressed with the size, build quality or the range of the wireless so I looked around again. I almost went for the RT-N56U but thought 'what the hell', may as well go for the flagship and ended up with the RT-N66U.
First thing I noticed was how much smaller and heavier the RT-N66U was when compared to the Netgear, it's solid and just looks so beautiful , I have it sitting on my bedside drawers near the wall so the antennas can be folded down the back. Again very simple to set up and get online, a matter of minutes from unpacking to surfing. The GUI is simple and intuitive takes no time at all to set up the wireless networks. I just think the guest networks are great, you can even time restrict any network so if you have kids they can only browse while your up and about to supervise them. Can't wait to try it on BT Infinity, at the moment I'm just running it off my DG834GT set as a modem on a ADSL+2 line at 18Mbps
The range is fantastic the 5G has much more penetrative power than the WNDR4500 so now even my neighbour can share on her own dedicated network. I live in a 200 year old house and the external walls are 3' thick, even with that I can now sit at the other end of my garden 40 feet away.
I have tried the TomatoUSB firmware and find it a little over fussy for my liking, I think once they have a very stable version I may go back but for the moment I'll stick with the official firmware.
In the words of Janus Johansen (another reviewer of the RT-N66U), " I'm super impressed ", and so glad I decided to buy this equipment.
Update Sept 16th 2012:
With BT Infinity now installed it did take a little while to get the RT-N66U to sync with BT's server, mainly I think because of the order I power cycled the units. I tried rebooting the modem first and then the RT-N66U but it wouldn't sync. Eventually having defaulted the settings on the RT-N66U, rebooting both modem and router at the same time, using the set up wizard, it synced up. Obviously the range doesn't change neither does the RT-N66U control the UL/DL Speed but I am synced at 75Mb Down and 17Mb Up
on 5 June 2012
I bought this router because the virgin 'superhub' gave me terrible performance on a 100mb connection After looking around at various review sites I decided on the Asus RT N56u and can say wholeheartedly it's one of the best purchases I've ever made!
The connection is flawless in any room in my house; I get at least 75mb EVERYWHERE upstairs or downstairs, or outside.my wireless top speed is 107mb The router is easy to set up simply plug the router into your cable modem and then connect an ethernet cable to a computer either Mac or Windows and follow the setup wizard that automatically is displayed by your web browser. The Router allows for two different frequencies either 2.4 or 5ghz simultaneously
This router suits all your possible needs; if you're a heavy downloader or you watch a lot of HD streams or If your a gamer looking for a router that's going to give you a lag free experience I can say from my experience this is the router for you,
some of the features includes the ability to optimize your network experience for a particular activity; either gaming, ftp, HD streaming and Email + Web. It also displays all the connected devices with a possibility to either block one and even prioritize which device you wish to have a better share of the network.
All in all I can say this is the perfect router
on 3 November 2011
I live in a flat which, thankfully, has very well built walls, which is of course desireable. The only issue is, inevitably, wireless reception.
I wanted a router to replace a DIR615 connected to my VM Superhub, which can not only provide a strong signal throughout, but also be able to handle multiple devices (at last count, I have 15+ devices connected through gigabit/WLAN, from my Panasonic VT30 to ReadyNas to Sonos) with no sweat. I put the Asus in router mode, and put the superhub in Modem mode. It picked up my configuration instantly and I was up and running with basics working within a few minutes.
You have to understand that when you buy a router like this, you have to step in and configure it to get the best out of it. I had issues where my Sonos would not bridge the other zones correctly, which was resolved when I changed the router IP to 192.168.0.1.
So far, the router has been fantastic. 2.4ghz signal remains full throughout the flat, even in areas the DIR-615 was barely 1 bar. All our devices work perfectly (iPads, laptops, SGS2, iPhone 4S) with no dropouts as we had before. I have also noticed an increase in transfer speeds between my ReadyNas and PC, as well as a nominal increase in NTP transfer speeds (perhaps as a result of using better routing in the Asus than Superhub)
I personally don't mind the interface, though some items took a bit of digging around to find. The only issue is the 5ghz signal is weak, though AI Radar I presume has been retweaking the signal, as it is slowly getting stronger. This is not an issue as all devices I want to use 5ghz are within a good range.
All in all, a great looking router, and works great.